A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press. Journalists are not classified as fellow Americans, but rather “The enemy of the people.” This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences. We asked editorial boards from around the country – liberal and conservative, large and small – to join us today to address this fundamental threat in their own words.
Replacing a free media with a state-run media has always been a first order of business for any corrupt regime taking over a country. Today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current U.S. administration are the “enemy of the people.” This is one of the many lies that have been thrown out by this president much like an old-time charlatan threw out “magic” dust or water on a hopeful crowd.
“The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom,” wrote John Adams.
For more than two centuries, this foundational American principle has protected journalists at home and served as a model for free nations abroad. Today it is under serious threat. And it sends an alarming signal to despots, from Ankara to Moscow, Beijing to Baghdad, that journalists can be treated as a domestic enemy.
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More than 400 news outlets from around the country have joined our effort to support a free press. Scroll below to read them. We will be updating the list as more editorials are published.
Editorial: The core principles of journalism
Trump’s taunts don’t diminish the importance of America’s media
Anchorage Daily News
Why attacks on free speech and the free press are so dangerous
If the press is the enemy of anything, it is corruption and waste by those in positions of power in our society.
Shooting the messengers: Trump’s attacks on free press ‘enemies’ undermine our democracy
The president rails about “fake news” to distract from inconvenient truths, but there is no alternative to a free press: democracies run on facts. Informed citizens are the foundation of our country’s success.
Arizona Daily Sun
The press is not the enemy of the people
Arizona Daily Star
The free press is not the ‘enemy of the people’
The First Amendment protects your right — your need — to know more than what your government tells you. At a practical level, we journalists sit through boring government meetings and learn about public school financing formulas, so you don’t have to. It’s not as lofty a statement as the First Amendment, but it serves. Why would you give that away?
Journalists, don’t let Trump’s attacks on media keep us from doing our job
Donald Trump has called the media many things: “the lowest form of humanity,” “lowlifes,” “scum” and “disgusting.” Journalists have heard it all before, and long before Donald Trump was cooing in his pram. It goes with the territory.
Time for media, Trump to reflect
As a third-generation newspaperman, I find the language and persistent attack on a profession that reaches to every community in this country to be vile and un-American.
North Little Rock
Times of North Little Rock
Editorial: We are not the enemy of the people
We tell the stories of our communities, from the new Italian Festival to football players under those bright Friday Night Lights. We are always by your side.
Van Buren County Democrat
Friends like these
Not everybody likes it when their business is put out for public review, even when it’s public business, even when it deserves review, even when it’s done by the guy from the paper.
The Long Beach Post
The media as ‘your enemy’ is perhaps Trump’s biggest lie
Journalists report about your world, your nation, your state, your city on every level, sometimes as watchdogs when corruption, moral misdeeds and financial abuse occurs, and sometimes as cheerleaders when there are so many happy and heroic things to share with readers: triumphs and victories, moments of great inspiration and bravery.
The Black Voice News
Enemy of The People Attacks, Not New
Her remarks, “The Requirements of Southern Journalism” was a call to action from a former member, “one of the journals which was a member of your organization has been silenced by the edict of the mob which declared there shall be no such thing as ‘Free Speech’ in the South.” She appealed to them in their role as independent watchdogs of the government, because the government refused to protect all its citizens. “The President of the United States announces himself unable to do anything to stay this ‘Reign of Terror,’ and the race in the localities in which these outrages occur are nearly always unable to protect themselves.”
The Daily Californian
Donald Trump’s ‘fake news’ rhetoric doesn’t just hurt professional journalists
Still, student journalists refuse to be silent — instead, they are reporting on these issues and putting an emphasis on the resources their universities need. Although these young writers are battling obstacles from their government both as students and as journalists, they continue to dedicate their time to publishing groundbreaking content.
Bay Area Reporter
Trump’s ‘fake news’ is fake news
Don’t fall for the clickbait on social media and don’t let the president define your reality for you. He says it’s “fake news” when media does not flatter him. We say be aware of news that affects you and your community, here, across the country, and around the world. Trump will continue calling media “fake news,” but that doesn’t mean it’s true.
Monterey County Weekly
We launched this “Free Spech” feature right after Trump was elected. We weren’t so much clairvoyant of what was to come as proud of our place in a long history of people making a living utilizing the protections enshrined in the First Amendment.
San Diego Union-Tribune
How we restore faith in journalism
Distrust is not easy to dismantle. But journalists at The San Diego Union-Tribune and nationwide will keep advocating for a free and fair press. With this president. And the next. And the next. And the next. And all who follow.
No, the press is not Public Enemy No. 1
We run senior menus and back to school photos. Menacing the republic is not in our job descriptions. The downfall of America is not on our to-do list. We’re here to put out a newspaper and help keep our community informed.
Idyllwild Town Crier
Fake news, American institutions and the presidency
Apart from our free press and the Electoral College, Trump has attacked the judicial branch of our government, our military and civilian intelligence communities, his own Department of Justice, the FBI — and even the NFL. Of course, he enjoys freedom of speech, but when he uses it to attack these established and treasured American institutions, he attacks our American way of life.
Coachella Valley Independent
Anger and Divisiveness Are the Enemy—Not the Free Press
I could go into details here about how this rhetoric is right out of the authoritarianism playbook. I could elaborate on how the news media is not one big, cohesive entity, but instead, many hundreds of publications with all sorts of different editorial philosophies and viewpoints, ranging from sharply liberal to staunchly conservative. I could go on and on … but I won’t. I’ll just again repeat: If we can’t communicate with each other, democracy doesn’t work.
The Fresno Bee
The Fresno Bee is not the enemy. We are Americans, and Valley residents like you
President Trump, please stop calling the press “the enemy.” Disagree with us; call us slow-witted if we make an error. But don’t make us less than the Americans we truly are.
San Jose Mercury News and the East Bay Times
Editorial: President Trump, we are not the nation’s enemy
We can’t sit here and be silent. The notion that we are the enemy fomenting division domestically and abroad is absurd.
Chico News & Review
Not the enemy
At this point, it would be easy to tune out the president’s constant rebukes—to trigger the internal “blah, blah, blah” button. But that would be normalizing his attacks, so resist the temptation.
The North Coast Journal
Enough, Mr. President
These attacks, this vicious rhetoric, have created two very real dangers: Short-term, it increases the danger inherent in doing our job. Long-term and far more important, it undermines the very basis of our democracy.
The Press Democrat
Editorial: Enemies of the people? No, we’re your eyes and ears
Reporters shouldn’t be seeking approbation from politicians or government officials or anyone else they cover. But there’s more than a little irony when a man whose celebrity is rooted in the tabloid culture, and who tried to keep himself in the headlines by posing as his own publicist, cries “fake news.”
The Stanford Daily
In our ‘post-truth era’ quest to defend journalistic principles, a look toward our predecessors
These claims of so-called “fake news” have undermined the very existence of a free press, eroding the credibility of reporting and making it increasingly difficult for smaller, local publications to flourish.
The Pagosa Springs SUN
We are not your enemy
Last month, after The SUN called out the county for allowing the jail advisory committee to hold meetings behind closed doors, we received an email about the matter stating: “If ever there were an example of the importance of an independent press, this is it.” We agree.
We tell the truth: Denver Post decries Trump’s attacks on journalists
Journalists in The Denver Post newsroom spend their days in pursuit of the truth. There’s no political agenda belying their printed words, just a desire to inform the public.
Lakeville Journal and Millerton News
Perspective on truth, lies, respect and hate
Americans may not like the news they see or hear but they should not hold that against those who report it. In short, don’t shoot the messenger.
Reporters As “The Enemy”? Take A Closer Look And You Decide
Is this really what the enemy looks like? Climbing creaky stairs in old town halls for 7 p.m. meetings. Sitting on folding chairs for hours. Writing stories on those meetings that same night. Getting up too early the next day to do it again.
Journalists are not the ‘enemy ’
Unable to carry on in the light, the president attempts to drag us all into a dark labyrinth where rules don’t apply and some vacant concept of winning seems attainable. This is the playground of “alternative facts .” But news organizations do not play in that dark playground.They perform in the light, and as such they are not the “enemy of the people” but precisely the opposite.
Trump’s rhetoric hits all media hard
So when he continues to attack the press as a whole with almost demonic disdain without any proof of inaccuracies, he’s not hurting the feelings of journalists. They’re tough men and women. They can take it. What he’s doing is undermining democracy itself.
The Darien Times
There is nothing more American than a free press.
We are the enemy of governmental secrecy, of public self-servants and of lies — we are the enemy of absolute power seekers and the enemy of efforts to propogate an uninformed electorate so as to manipulate it. From the tiniest newspaper with no budget to an international journalistic powerhouse — we are the enemies of those who would seek to hide the truth from you.
Uniting our voices in defense of a free press
Only information coming from the president or news and social media sites he deems worthy is acceptable.
Upper Delaware River Valley
The River Reporter
Don’t shoot the messenger
But shooting the messenger, either literally or virtually, is exactly the bulls-eye that the President of the United States is creating in labeling the press the “enemy of the people.”
The King’s Speech
It is the enfant terrible of a king’s greatest hope that the people will rise against us media tyrants who hold his monarchy hostage, wielding our mighty pens of insistence to verify facts and tell objective truths, of analyzing and critiquing and speaking truth to power, of presenting a broad variety of views, so long as these be based in reality.
South Florida Gay News
The Most Dangerous Man in America is Still Donald Trump
The challenge today is for America’s free press to remain independent, not supplicant; to print real news, not government Pablum, whether you are the Wilton Manors Gazette or the Capital Gazette. We choose to question authority, not bow down to it.
We are not the enemy of the people
When an elected leader refuses to answer our questions, he or she is, by proxy, refusing to answer your questions. The problem isn’t that they don’t want us to know, it is that they don’t want you to know. It is the American people, not the American press, that they hope to keep ignorant of their actions and words.
Freedom of press is under attack
Enough, President Trump: Don’t tread on us.
The war between Trump and news media must end
Even those who have little reason to defend Trump have found the media’s coverage excessive at times.
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Trump’s cynical effort to cast the press as ‘enemies’
“Fake News.” Trump wields that phrase like a bully with a truncheon.
Panama City News-Herald
We are your defense
We believe good, fair, in-depth storytelling, moving the community forward, understanding each other, finding commonalities, moving past rumors and celebrating accomplishments while solving problems.
Nothing fake about our news
It is well to remember that one of the things that make America great is the fact that we grant the freedom of expression even to those, who, if they got their way, would deny those same freedoms to us.
President Trump, the press isn’t the ‘enemy’ — it’s America’s watchdog
That is good news, indeed!
Tampa Bay Times
Strive to keep truth flowing for democracy
In such a toxic environment, Trump’s declarations undermine not just journalists and news organizations but the communities and democracy we endeavor to serve.
As Lincoln advised, this, too, shall pass
Remember, what power you give the president today will one day be possessed by a president you don’t like
President Trump, we’re not ‘enemies of the people.’ End your war on our free press
Everywhere in the country, any matter that an official doesn’t want to talk about or that a reader doesn’t want to hear about is “fake news” now.
What our investigative journalists expose isn’t fake news
The reporters aren’t the enemy of the people. They pursue real stories intended to right wrongs and help the least among us.
We’re not the enemy of the people
it is doubtful these words will make a difference to Trump or his most steadfast supporters.
President Trump, we’re not ‘enemies of the people.’ End your war on our free press
We all — as citizens — have a stake in this fight, and the battle lines seem pretty clear. If one first comes successfully for the press as an “enemy of the American People,” what stops someone from coming next for your friends? Your family? Or you?
Palm Beach Post
In defense of democracy’s defenders
In less flowery terms, the role of the press is to keep an eye on the henhouse.
Highlands News Sun
Bad for democracy
Calling our work fake news or the individuals who work here the enemy of the people is not a successful attack on the media. It is an attack on how our democracy works. This fake news rhetoric is an attack on the vision of our Founding Fathers. The enemy of the state rhetoric weakens our democratic notion of checks and balances for future generations.
Time for Trump’s journalist attacks to stop
We understand that not all journalists are ethical and doing their jobs properly. No industry is without its faults. But on a large scale, there are journalists in communities across this great nation who are informing and fighting for the little guy against bloated government bureaucracies that, if unchecked, will trample on basic rights of its people.
Honolulu Civil Beat
The ‘Enemy Of The People’ Is Actually Doing Its Job
President Trump’s sustained attacks on the media represent a danger to a free press and democracy itself.